(ATTN: UPDATES with arrival; CHANGES headline, dateline)
By Kim Deok-hyun
RIYADH, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks with the oil-rich kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the second leg of his trip to the Middle East with economic diplomacy high on the agenda.
Moon and the crown prince are expected to discuss how to expand bilateral cooperation in public health, artificial intelligence, hydrogen and education, while bolstering cooperation in energy, infrastructure and construction.
After the talks, Moon will attend a business forum and meet Yasir al-Rumayyan, chairman of Aramco, the kingdom's state oil giant. The Aramco chairman also heads Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund.
The trip to Saudi Arabia followed a four-day visit to Dubai that included the signing of a preliminary deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to sell midrange surface-to-air missiles in the latest sign of deepening defense cooperation between the two nations.
The deal was signed after Moon held talks with UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai. Although Moon's office did not provide details of the deal, media reports have indicated it is likely to reach US$3.5 billion.
In addition to the deepening defense ties, Korea and the UAE agreed to expand their cooperation into hydrogen, efforts to tackle climate change, space and science.
In Dubai, which is currently hosting the Expo 2020, Moon stepped up Korea's campaign to host the World Expo in the nation's southeastern port city of Busan in 2030.
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